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Future fears for childhood home of Thomas Blake Glover

The childhood home of Thomas Blake Glover – regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Japan – could become “another Westburn House” if it is not repaired, city leaders have been warned.

Glover House, where the industrialist grew up, is unoccupied and has become a target for anti-social behaviour.

Bridge of Don councillor Alison Alphonse claimed lead has been stolen from the roof of the 18th-century building and said there have been a number of break-ins in the last two years.

Aberdeen City Council is reportedly considering a number of options, including boarding it up to prevent future incidents.

Historic home of Thomas Blake Glover

However, Ms Alphonse claimed that would be the start of a “downward spiral” leading to the historic home being lost forever.

Glover House has been unoccupied for several years.

Instead, she wants to see the home – where Thomas Blake Glover spent his formative years – brought back into use.

“We need to get it fixed and we need to do something with the building,” she said. “We don’t want another Westburn House.

“They are speaking about boarding it up and we don’t want that. If that happens it will end up being a downward spiral.

“I would love to see it opened, perhaps as a coffee shop. Someone could take it on as a business.

“The council is making no money from it. They are sitting on a wonderful asset and doing nothing with it.”

Glover House was bought by Mitsubishi – which Mr Glover helped found – in 1996 before being gifted to the Grampian-Japan Trust as a museum.

Aberdeen City Council then took ownership of the building before it closed in 2012.

Fears over repeat of Westburn House

Westburn House, built in the 1830s, has been empty for more than 20 years despite several attempts to bring it back into use.

Westburn House has fallen into disrepair.

A campaign group’s efforts have been in vain even though there have been attempts to turn it into a nursery and an office for the city’s registrars.

Parts of the structure are crumbling, the roof is caving in and it is frequently targeted by vandals.

Now Ms Alphonse fears history is repeating itself at Glover House.

“It’s vital that we repair the roof. If we don’t, the damage will get worse and a job that would have cost £2,000 will end up costing £20,000,” she said.

“It is such a shame to see it lying empty and falling into disrepair. I want to see new life breathed into it.”

Ms Alphonse believes the council could rent out the building or operate it itself, and said the authority could seek sponsorship to make it viable.

Aberdeen City Council said its staff carry out patrols to ensure Glover House is properly maintained.

“There have been two reported break-ins in the past year,” a spokeswoman said.

“However, building services have since made repairs and enhanced site security has been installed.

“Regular inspections are carried out to ensure the property remains secure and to identify any necessary maintenance or repair requirements.”

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